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The Convention Providing a Uniform Law on the Form of an International Will, known as the Washington Convention ("the Convention"), was adopted in Washington DC on 26 October, 1973. The text comprises 16 articles stating the obligations of the contracting states, plus an Annex of 15 articles entitled Uniform Law on the Form of an International Will ("the Uniform Law"). The most significant obligation of the contracting states is to introduce the Uniform Law into their respective domestic legal systems.
Australia acceded to the Convention on 10 September, 2014 and it entered into force for Australia on 10 March, 2015. All Australian jurisdictions have amended their wills legislation to incorporate the Uniform Law as part of their law relating to wills. In South Australia, those amendments (Part 3A of the Wills Act 1936) commenced operation on 22 November, 2014.
This page shows the current status of the Convention, including the countries for which the Convention has entered into force.
the testator making a will in a country which is not that of his or her nationality or legal domicile or usual residence;
a will being drafted in a country which is not that of the testator's nationality or legal domicile or usual residence;
a will being drafted in one country and signed in another;
the testator's assets being located in one or more countries other than the country where the will is drafted and/or signed;
the possibility of probate of the will (or similar process) having to be applied for in a country other than the country where the will is drafted and/or signed;
the possibility of the testator's estate having to be administered in a country other than the country where the will is drafted and/or signed;
the location of one or more beneficiaries in countries other than the country where the will is drafted and/or signed or where the estate's assets are located.
it must be made by one person only;
it must be in writing;
it may be written in any language, by hand or by any other means;
the testator must declare in the presence of two witnesses and of a "person authorised to act in connection with international wills" (see below) that the document is his/her will and that he/she knows its contents;
the testator must sign the will in the presence of the witnesses and of the authorised person, or, if he/she has previously signed it, must acknowledge his/her signature (there is provision for a testator who is unable to sign);
the witnesses and the authorized person must, there and then, attest the will by signing in the presence of the testator;
the signatures of the testator, the witnesses and the authorised person must be placed at the end of the will;
every page of the will must be signed by the testator and must be numbered;
the date of the will must be the date of its signature by the authorised person, who must note that date at the end of the will;
the authorised person must attach to the will a certificate, in the prescribed form, establishing that the requirements of the Uniform Law have been complied with.